There are many examples of how the initially successful winter fishing was spoiled by the fault of the fishermen themselves. For many, hunting for pike-perch is not about finding new, untouched places for a predator, but constant tracking of successful fishermen who honestly find and catch a fanged predator, relying on their own experience and knowledge of the reservoir.
In case of success, my friends and I try to make sure that the catch is as little as possible from the outside. This is especially important when fishing at shallow depths during massive walks of pike perch on open shallows, where the depth under the ice is about a meter or even less.
Finding such places and getting to the exit of the pike-perch is worth a lot, and “spotting” them is a piece of cake. Even in the well-known places of mass zander outings, where large heaps of fishermen gather, those who fish unnoticed have a better chance of success.
Imperceptibly – it means neatly, without twitching and fuss. The fisherman, who sweepingly hooks and furiously fiddles with his hands, pulling out the pike perch, stands out from the general mass of his colleagues waiting for a bite, so the rest begin to pull up in his direction.
Personally, I consider it normal when, in calm fishing conditions, holes are drilled no closer than 30 m from a successful fisherman, and with a massive release of pike perch – no closer than 3 m, but when they come close, this is already rudeness. With a massive release of zander in a dense school, drilling new holes next to those anglers who started fishing is considered the norm, everyone does this, and this is the specificity of this fishing.
The choice of high-quality tackle allows you to reliably detect and confidently bring out a large predator without taking any noticeable actions, for example, without a sweeping sweep, it is possible to cut through a bony goose mouth. In my opinion, in most cases the predator is spotted on its own, so when using high-quality tees, such as Owner # 4 or Gamakatsu # 4, a short but sharp cut is quite enough, which is not noticeable to others.
By the nature of the bite and the feeling of heaviness, it is possible to estimate the size of the pike perch. So, the average pike perch, up to 1.5–2 kg, usually hits the bait sharply, and the larger one in most cases presses powerfully. But in all cases, it is not worth waving your hands, choosing a fishing line, or throwing a fishing rod on the ice when hooking, you need to carefully and confidently bring the pike perch into the hole. The noise of a fishing rod falling on the bare ice is treacherously carried over a long distance; it is heard by many anglers within a radius of 50 m and even more.
Fluttering of caught pike perch on ice is also very noticeable from the side, besides, there is a high risk of injuring fingers on the sharp gill covers. Such cuts are extremely painful and do not heal for a long time, especially in the cold, so it is more convenient to remove the bait from the zander’s mouth when the pike perch is in the hole. With a significant thickness of ice, the pike perch in the hole is like a prisoner in handcuffs, therefore, carefully freeing the spoon, I pick up the pike perch under the gills with my finger and, directing my head, push it into the bag.
Many fishermen have treasured places, known only to them alone, where they periodically manage to catch trophy predators. As a rule, in such places there are local bottom structures that attract large zander, and they periodically appear here. I also have such a place. After fishing here, I carefully cover my tracks: I sprinkle the drilled hole with snow, remove the remnants of the blood from the caught trophy from the ice. I will never come to my place if other anglers are two hundred meters or closer from it.
The ability to catch secretly needs to be learned. It consists of a symbiosis of experience, self-control and trust in your own gear. It is the ability to catch covertly that distinguishes an experienced zander from a novice angler in many ways.